COVID-19 vaccine side effects could impact mammogram results

COVID-19 vaccine side effects could impact mammogram results

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - If you’re due for a mammogram, the COVID-19 vaccine can make things a bit complicated.

As medical experts learn more about the vaccine, they are learning about possible side effects.

One of those side effects could be swollen lymph nodes, which can also be a symptom of breast cancer.

Doctors are now recommending spacing out your breast screening from your COVID-19 vaccine.

“I think any woman who gets a phone call to come back in as a recall from her screening mammogram, that is an anxiety-producing situation,” said Dr. Laura Danile, with Charlotte Radiology.

Dr. Danile wants women to be informed, to prevent some of that anxiety.

New information published by the Society of Breast Imaging included data showing some patients had swollen lymph nodes after the COVID-19 vaccine, which can also be a symptom of breast cancer.

“If we see that change in the lymph nodes we would call that patient back,” Dr. Danile said.

Because of this, the Society of Breast Imaging is recommending women get a mammogram before the vaccine, or 4 to 6 weeks after the second dose.

Charlotte Radiology posted that information online for patients to see before scheduling their appointment.

“Starting today at all of our screening centers we’re gonna collect specific information asking if the patient received the vaccine, which arm, what date, if it was the first or second,” Dr. Danile said.

But if you already got the shot and a mammogram, Dr. Danile said that’s OK.

“There will already be patients caught in the middle and again that is fine, this, not a 100 percent occurrence, it’s just us trying to make the best possible determination,” Dr. Danile said.

It may impact your timeline, but she hopes it does not prevent you from getting either.

“We hope that this does not delay women from getting a mammogram or the vaccine!” Dr. Danile said. “Right now we feel that both of those are very useful.”

So far, Dr. Danile said a handful of patients with swollen lymph nodes have told them they recently got the shot.

In those cases, they are scheduling the patients to come back in about three weeks.

If the lymph nodes are back to normal, they will know it was just a side effect of the shot.

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